A procession of Magi from the east came to Jerusalem in search of a new king of the Jews. Rome's King Herod played along with them so he could destroy this threat to his rule. A star appeared in the sky leading the Magi to the humble dwelling of Mary and Joseph.
There they gave gifts to the infant king and then avoided seeing Herod on the way home. From Chicago, this is The Moody Church Hour, a weekly service of worship and teaching with Pastor Erwin Lutzer. Today, the final answer to the question raised by a Christmas carol, who is he in yonder stall? Later, Erwin Lutzer will talk about the response of the wise men who said, he is the king. Pastor Lutzer comes now to open today's service. We want to welcome you to The Moody Church today. We're glad that you are here. So this Sunday after Christmas, we still have the privilege of singing carols and reminding ourselves of the great message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are glad that you are here. In a moment, we're going to be singing the first Noel. Now you may wonder, what does Noel mean?
I remember many years ago here in Chicago where the L wasn't working and everyone said Noel, Noel. Actually, the word means carol. So it's really the first Christmas carol. And that's why we read about the fact that the first Noel has to do with the message of Jesus and the song that was sung as a result of that, the song of the angels. We're glad that you are here to worship with us. Our intention is that our hearts and minds be lifted Godward. And I invite you to pray. Let us ask the Lord to bless us and to set aside all of the stresses and the concerns that we may have brought with us that we might honor the Lord our God in our worship. Join me as we pray. And Father, once again, we contemplate the angels singing about your goodness, your greatness, and reminding ourselves that a king has been born. And so, Lord, during this busy season, we pray your blessing upon your people as we gather together in the name of Christ. May we worship you acceptably and may our hearts be drawn to the one born that we might worship Him. In whose name we pray.
Amen. In fields where they may be keeping their sheep, on a cold winter's night that falls slowly, Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel. Lord is the King of Israel.
They looked up and saw a star shining in peace beyond their fault, and through the earth it gave great light, and so it counted all faith and might. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel. Lord is the King of Israel. The light, the light, the blessing star, we worship Thee, the bloods we clothe and bury Thee. Oh, come and stay right over the place where Jesus lay.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel. Lord is the King of Israel. And enter Thee, those wise and free. Oh, let me upon their knee, and offer them His presence.
Their gold and earth and frankincense. Noel, Noel, Noel. Lord is the King of Israel. And let us all, with one of more, sing praises to our heavenly Lord. And let us all, with one of more, sing praises to our heavenly Lord.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel. Lord is the King of Israel. Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming, Jesus is our childhood pattern, day by day like us He grew, He was little, weak and helpless, tears and smiles like us He knew, And He filleth for our sadness, and He shareth in our gladness. And our hearts and hearts shall see Him, through His own redeeming love, For that child so dear and gentle is our Lord in heaven above, And He is still denied to the place where He is found. Who is He in yonder storm, at His feet the shepherds fall, Who is He in deep distress, passing Him over their heads? Tis the Lord of wondrous glory, Tis the Lord, the King of glory, Round and round and o'er the road, Who is He the people bless, For His word, the gentle hand, Who is He to bring? Tis the Lord of wondrous glory, Tis the Lord, the King of glory, Round and round and o'er the road, Who is He that stands in peace, At the grave, at the sleep, Who is He the gathering throng, Made in God, the triumphant Son? Tis the Lord of wondrous glory, Tis the Lord, the King of glory, At His feet, He longed before, Round and round and o'er the road, Who is He?
None, who is He? Praise in God, eternally, Who is He? On yonder tree, rising free, He is the King of glory, Tis the Lord of wondrous glory, Tis the Lord, the King of glory, At His feet, He longed before, Round and round and o'er the road, Who is He that from the grave Comes to Thee? And God can say, Who is He?
And God is strong, For the Lord, Tis the Lord of wondrous glory, Tis the Lord, the King of glory, At His feet, He longed before, Round and round and o'er the road, Who is the Lord of wondrous glory, Tis the Lord, the King of glory, At His feet, He longed before, Round and round and o'er the road, At His feet, He longed before, Round and round and o'er the road. Amen. Father, we do crown Him Lord of all, and we humbly worship Him today and give Him all of our love and adoration.
Amen. Jesus is the King. What does that mean for us, and why should our lives be changed as a result of that truth? I've been praying that as a result of this message that we're going to be presenting today that after it's over, our burdens are going to be lighter and our troubled conscience is going to be at rest.
This is number four in a series of messages entitled, Who is He in Yonder Stall? We've learned that the baby in the manger is the Son of God. He is the Savior.
He's a light to the Gentiles. And today we're going to learn that He is indeed the King, not just the King of the Jews, but ultimately the King of the universe. In order to get into the text, would you take your Bibles and turn to that passage in the second chapter of the book of Matthew?
Very familiar. It's one that takes place after Christmas, as all of us know. But in Matthew chapter 2, we have this amazing story that oftentimes has intrigued us. It says, After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?
There's the phrase, King of the Jews. We saw his star when it rose, or the star in the east, and have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him in Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet. And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah, for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.
I'm going to read just that far in this marvelous, intriguing story. We don't know a lot about these wise men, the Magi. For example, we don't know how many there were. Oftentimes we sing about three, you know, we three kings of Orient are. Three kings?
I don't believe that for a moment. I think that there was a whole entourage. And the reason we must believe that, if they came from Persia, which is modern-day Iran, modern-day Iran, if they came from there, actually as a plane flies, it's about 500 miles, but by caravan it would be a thousand miles because of the winding roads and the hills that are in between the two areas of the world. And so they perhaps were traveling for months. I can imagine 50 or 60 people coming. And they had servants, they had to bring food, they had to bring their tents.
This was a huge project. And I can't imagine that Herod would be troubled and all Jerusalem with him because three guys show up on camels. I think that this was a group of people coming from the east. Now we don't understand exactly why it is that they learned that Jesus would be likened unto a star. We find that prophecy in the book of Numbers when Balaam, the false prophet, your member, spoke and said, Behold, a star shall arise out of Jacob and a scepter out of Israel.
And of course they picked up on that. It could well be because Esther, your member, was in the land of Persia. And she was the queen there, and the Bible tells us that there were many people who believed in the Jewish God, the God Jehovah, as a result of her witness. And of course you have Daniel and the other men who were in Babylon after the time of what we call the Babylonian captivity. And so from generation to generation, tradition may have developed and was passed on that from the Jews a king would arise who would be the king of the Jews.
At any rate, they show up. And I want you to realize that God never bypasses his holy word. The star did not take them directly to Bethlehem. In fact, the star took them to Jerusalem. And it's in Jerusalem where they opened the scriptures and the scribes and the Pharisees looked into God's word, remembered the prophet Micah's prophecy, and quoted that it was from Bethlehem that the Redeemer was to come. He was to be born in Bethlehem.
And so what we have here in the text is that the star took them to Jerusalem. You know, throughout the Middle East today, you find many people who are being saved or being brought to faith in Christ as a result of dreams. They have dreams about Jesus. But those dreams do not introduce them directly to Jesus.
They only prepare the way for the introduction. Many years ago, there was a student studying at Trinity Seminary, a Palestinian, and I interviewed him at length because he had a very interesting story. There he was in Jerusalem, and one night he had a dream, and he awakened and could not get out of bed. He felt himself pinned down to the bed, and he knew that this had something to do with Jesus. So finally he said, Jesus, if you allow me to get out of bed, I promise I'll investigate and find out about you. Well, the rest of the story is a few days later, he meets a Christian. He's introduced to the Bible, and he receives Jesus Christ as his Savior and is ministering in the Bethlehem, Jerusalem area today.
The stars and the dreams never take you directly to Christ. They only lead you to the scriptures, and there we find out about him, and that was learned by these wise men. Well, all that to introduce the topic of the kingship of Jesus. Where is the king of the Jews? The message that I'm going to give you today is going to be from about 30,000 feet.
In other words, it's going to cover a lot of territory in a very short period of time, in just a few minutes. So sometimes I'll quote the scripture. There will be one or two times when I'll ask you to turn to the scripture, but I want you to understand the kingship of Jesus, and then we'll talk about its relevance and the way in which it applies to our situation, to our need, to our struggles, to our disappointments, and why it is that it is such a great message of hope. So we see the kingship of Jesus in various phases. First of all, it was predicted in the Old Testament. Predicted in the Old Testament. 2 Samuel 7, God comes to David and says, you're going to have a son who's going to rule, and his kingdom shall be established, and his throne shall be established forever. Well, I have to ask you, has that been fulfilled?
I don't think so. Dr. Radelnik and I led a tour to Israel several months ago, and while we didn't go everywhere in Jerusalem, we saw no palace, we saw no king ruling, we saw no descendant of David on the throne in Jerusalem, and God says, though I'm going to establish it forever. Psalm 2, yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
Zion, of course, representative of the entire city of Jerusalem. Is there a king ruling today from Zion, from Jerusalem? No, there isn't a king ruling from Jerusalem. You asked the question, is Jesus a king today? Yes, Jesus is a king. He's been crowned in heaven, but he's unrecognized on earth, and so his kingship on this earth has not yet been established as predicted. You know, the Bible says in the book of Hebrews that Jesus has been exalted waiting until his enemies be a footstool for his feet. So in a sense, he is king, he is Lord, all things are under his feet legally, but he's not yet fulfilling the promises of the Old Testament to rule this world and to bring justice to the nations.
That is future. Now, I want you to think about this and to see the continuity of scripture. When Gabriel comes to Mary, you remember what he says. He says regarding Jesus, he shall be great and shall be called the son of the highest, and the Lord God shall give on to him the throne of his father David, and he shall rule over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Has that been fulfilled?
Once again, no, it's not been fulfilled. Jesus is not on the throne of David today. Now, there are some people say, oh, the throne of David was transferred up to heaven. He rules in heaven. Is that the way Mary would have understood that?
Knowing the Old Testament and knowing the promises given in the Old Testament to David, she would have understood that the child that she is bearing is going to rule over the house of David, on the throne of David, that is to say the lineage of David and the kingship of David ruling where David ruled, namely Jerusalem. That has not yet been fulfilled. So there's a second phase that we need to understand regarding the kingship of Jesus. And that is what is known as the millennial kingdom when I believe all these prophecies will be literally fulfilled.
They'll be fulfilled in the millennium. Take your Bibles and I want you to turn to Isaiah chapter 2. Isaiah chapter 2. There are so many references, not only throughout Isaiah, but all the prophets. They speak of a time of glory of the city of Jerusalem.
They talk about a time of peace that will be established. And we can see this in the second chapter of Isaiah and its prediction. It says in chapter 2 of Isaiah, the word that Isaiah, the son of Amos, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days, I don't believe those days are here yet, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be lifted above the hills.
By the way, whenever you come across that kind of terminology, it's referring to Jerusalem, which is really established on the hills. And all the nations shall flow into it and many people shall come and say, let's go on to the mountain of the house of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways, that we may walk in his paths. For out of Zion, that's Jerusalem, shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and shall decide disputes for many people and they shall beat their swords into plow shears, their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. That certainly has not happened in Jerusalem. Go to Jerusalem today and it is a time of tension, a time of conflict, a time when they try negotiations, which of necessity must ultimately fail. And you will discover that that's not where the law is going forth and all the nations are obeying the king. That will be yet fulfilled.
Now here's something interesting. Your Bibles are open to verse four. It says he will judge between the nations and shall decide disputes for many people. If you go to the United Nations building in New York and then you walk across the street, you get to what is known as the Isaiah wall. The Isaiah wall has this snatch from the book of Isaiah, the last half of verse four.
They shall beat their swords into plow shears, their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Two things about the Isaiah wall across the street from the United Nations. Number one, it does not quote the whole verse because you see if it quoted the whole verse, he shall judge among the nations. This is clearly messianic. It's a reference to Jesus fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament, which he will eventually do.
That's what it is. And so they leave that out. They take this verse and then they don't even write beneath it Isaiah chapter two, verse four, lest apparently, lest somebody actually look it up in the text and read it in context. So what you have is simply the Isaiah wall. You have half of the verse and then under it, it says Isaiah. Well, what the United Nations is attempting to do, and God bless them, they're attempting to do without Christ what eventually can only be done by the power of Christ, namely to bring peace to the world.
That still is future. If your Bibles are open to Isaiah chapter two, you can also turn to chapter 11. And as I mentioned all throughout the prophets, you have predictions such as this. I'm picking it up, for example, in verse three. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see. He shall not decide disputes by what his ears hear. But with righteousness he will judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist and faithfulness the belt of his loins. The wolf and the lamb shall lie down and the leopard. Would you today take a wolf and put it in the same fold as a lamb?
Today if you take a wolf and a lamb and they both lie down together, if you notice carefully, when the wolf stands up, the lamb is missing. But in that day, and this will satisfy all the animal lovers, the tooth and claw, the raw selfishness of animals, where they kill one another and so forth, even that will be lifted. This will be a time when the curse actually is partially lifted, not entirely lifted, but partially lifted. Now I don't want to scare up more rabbits here than I can shoot today, but what I'd like to do is to just outline for you again a sequence of events so that you might be able to see when I believe this will happen in context. First of all, Jesus Christ comes and the church is raptured. Now many people believe that the church goes through the tribulation and will not be raptured at that time, but I'll tell you this, that if they go through the tribulation, they'll wish that they had believed in the pre-tribulation rapture.
So that day is still coming. Everybody will hope for the pre-tribulation rapture. But if we have to go through the tribulation, God will be with us through the tribulation. So here you have the rapture of the church, you have the tribulation period, and then Jesus returns in glory. And this is one of my favorite passages.
It is breathtaking. But I won't take time to read it today, but it is there in the 19th chapter of the book of Revelation where we are going to be at the marriage supper of the Lamb enjoying the company of Jesus, and then we, his saints, are going to be returning with him to the Mount of Olives. As it says in Zechariah, his feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives and the Mount shall cleave in the midst thereof and break apart, and there'll be a whole different topography in the Jerusalem area. And we are going to come back with him and it says that as Jesus is descending on his robe and on his thigh is written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Wow. And we're going to be there. That's why I told you if he can't go to Israel during this period of time, don't feel too badly because someday if you're a believer, you're going to get the royal tour by an incredible tour guide. He is going to return to the Mount of Olives and that's when the kingdom will be established. And that's when there will be a separation of the sheep and the goats and those who are still living in their earthly bodies will go into the millennial kingdom and righteousness and justice shall prevail and Jesus will be sitting and he has all the qualifications both through his lineage and because of other factors that have to do with who he is. He is going to be sitting on the throne of David. He will rule over the house of David and I believe that these scriptures will be literally fulfilled. Now I have to ask you what would Christmas be if it were not for joy to the world the Lord has come? The great song by Isaac Watts. But I do have to try to get into his mind a little bit here because you know one of those stanzas in fact the last says he rules the world with truth and joy is it and makes the nations prove the wonders of his glorious righteousness and the wonders of his love.
I got it a little bit wrong but that's the idea. Are you kidding me? That's millennial. He's not making the nations prove anything today.
He makes the nations prove his justice and his righteousness. Isaac Watts is thinking of the millennial kingdom and another stanza says no more let sin and sorrow grow nor thorns infest the ground. When I was a farm boy back in Canada we used to spray for thistles, we used to spray for bugs, we used to spray for all of these things and they're spraying for more things today than they did back then. That was a long time ago of course. And the time is going to come though in the millennial kingdom where the farmers will not need all of these sprays that contaminate our food.
I thought I'd just kind of throw that out there but no letters please. But all that won't be needed in the millennial kingdom. Now maybe Isaac Watts thought as some people thought that this is the millennium. Well no this is not the millennium. The millennium is going to come and Jesus is going to rule from Jerusalem and all of the prophecies made in the Old Testament and confirmed in the new will someday be fulfilled.
And when he returns it is as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Now we have to ask the question what is the relevance of the kingship of Jesus to us today? Many of you came with great burdens. Christmas has been difficult. You've gone through a period of loneliness. There's been strife maybe between members of the family.
Economically you're going through a difficult time. How does the kingship of Jesus relate to us? Well let's just back off for a moment. But before we do that by the way there was a phase that I actually missed that I don't think I have much time to comment on at all and that is the eternal kingdom. You see Jesus is going to be reigning here on earth and that eventually will morph into an eternal kingdom and the new Jerusalem which comes down from God out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. And I need to mention this that there in the book of Revelation the Bible says that all the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honor into the city. That is to say they'll surrender all their glory and honor to Jesus. And in the 19th chapter of Matthew when it says that Jesus is descending it says on his head were many diadems.
The imagery is this. In ancient times when a king lost and had to submit to the victorious king he took the crown from his head and he gave it to the victor. When Jesus returns every king that has ever existed every glory that has ever been given to kings will be surrendered to the king of kings Jesus Christ, Lord of lords, king of all gods. And then the Bible says this and I have to read it because you may think that I'm making it up but it isn't true. That is to say it isn't true that I'm making it up.
I want to be clear today. You'll notice in chapter 22 verse 3 it says no longer will there be anything accursed but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it and his servants will worship him. They shall see his face. His name will be on their foreheads and night will be no more.
They will need no light of the lamp or the sun for the Lord God will be their light and they shall reign forever and ever. I just reread that this morning and I thought to myself how incredible is this that in eternity we are going to worship the throne of God and of the Lamb that is the Lamb and God the Father. We're going to worship but we're also going to reign with him forever and ever. The exaltation of humanity, the undeserved exaltation of humanity, the kingship of Jesus and what he had by divine right he is going to share because of divine grace and we will be there with him recognizing his sovereignty and his kingship. Now how does all this relate to us as individuals? And as I mentioned, how does the kingship of Jesus change our lives today?
So let's just back off and think about this for a moment. First of all, I want you to see the humility of the king, the humility of the king. Remember with me the manger scene there in Bethlehem where Jesus is laid in a manger and now when the wise men come as the passage that we began with today, they actually come to the house. This is way after the time that Jesus was born, maybe a year or so after Jesus was born.
There are reasons to believe that, maybe 18 months after Jesus was born and Joseph and Mary are now in a house in Bethlehem and that's where the wise men come and they worship him there. But notice the humility of the king. Here is the king of kings, the Lord of Lords, and he is born in such humble surroundings and then lives and ultimately is brought up in Nazareth, a city that is despised. I think it was Augustine, the great theologian, who says that God has humbled himself, but we as men remain proud. You know, this ought to really shock us almost. The fact that God became man, the fact that the king was so humble that he came to redeem us, immediately sends an important signal, namely that we are in desperate need.
Desperate need. What could possibly cause the king of glory to leave his glories in heaven and to come to redeem us unless our need were absolutely huge? But it is. Only God can redeem us from our sins and therefore God comes to this earth and he comes humbly. And don't we all struggle with pride? God humbled himself. There's something else we must learn about the kingship of Jesus and that is the victory of the king, the victory of the king. When Jesus came to this earth, he came to a world of darkness.
He came into hostile territory. The Bible says that the whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one. And so Jesus entered into this conflict and as a parable indicates, he bound the strong man, he bound Satan's power so that we would be delivered, and the Bible says this in Colossians 1.13, that we are delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his son. For we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.
This is huge. You see, you and I are actually born in darkness but we don't know it so we try to manage the darkness and pretend that it is light. And yet we are slaves. The Bible says that Jesus came to deliver those who have been captured.
He came to set the prisoners free. Some of us may be in prison to our own sense of significance and we spend our whole lives trying to make people believe that we are better than we really are. And this becomes so huge and we look over our shoulders over those who have more significance than we and we're plotting and thinking of ways as to why their significance is not really that great after all. And so we spend our entire lives imprisoned trying to make ourselves look good, believing that we must always be right. But the gospel comes along and tells us we don't always have to be right because Jesus was right for us and he came to set us free. Sometimes we think that Jesus came to set good people free. Only good people come to church and are set free. Let me assure you today that if your life is a train wreck, Jesus came for you. He came to those who really needed him, those who recognized that they were prisoners to their own feelings, to their own desires, to their own aspirations.
Jesus comes to us and he transfers us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son by redemption and the forgiveness of our sins. God can forgive you today and God can totally blot out the guilt that is against you. Some of you may be bound because of your own anger and because of your own bitterness, but you can forgive today and you can be free because God has come to forgive and God has come to set us free.
Remember this, the greater you recognize your need and your desperation, the greater candidate you are for God's marvelous forgiveness, his grace, some of the consequences of your sin may continue, but the sense of guilt and despair and alienation is lifted when you come to the king who transferred us from one kingdom to another, transferred all those who believe in him and given them hope and given them life. There's something else about the king, not only is he a victorious king, he is also a king with authority. This is what Isaiah said in chapter 9, it says this regarding Christ, the government of the world will be upon his shoulders, the governance of the world upon his shoulders. Imagine having that much authority and power, that all the world upon his shoulders and he bears it easily and he bears it gladly because he is the king of kings, the Lord of hosts. Now don't you think that Jesus who's strong enough to bear the governments of the world, cannot he bear your grief, your sorrow, your disappointment, your pain? I believe that he can and I invite you today to make that transfer, casting all your care upon him for he cares for you.
At the end of the day what we must do is to realize that the anxiety and the burdens that we bear that are far too heavy for us to bear, those burdens must be given to him. But you can't do that just by saying yeah well that's a nice idea, there must be an actual transfer. Sometimes I like to give this illustration of Rebecca and I flying from here say to Frankfurt on American Airlines and let us suppose and this is more true or more possible during the days before security was an issue, let's suppose that after the plane took off in Chicago and the night began to descend that I was concerned because I thought maybe the pilots were falling asleep and so I talked to a flight attendant and say would you make sure that the pilots are awake? So let's suppose she does and then she comes back to me and she said they are awake but an hour later I think to myself you know I know people who have fallen asleep in an hour's time. So what I do is I ask her again and say I wonder if you'd check to see whether or not the pilots are asleep. She does that and she comes back and assures me that they are wide awake. An hour or two later I'm talking with her about you know when does this plane land in Frankfurt, talk about her schedule, does she fly back the next day and then I say well you know now that we're talking would you check to see whether or not the pilots are awake? I can imagine her saying I want to make a deal with you. How about if I pour you a cup of coffee and then you step outside to drink it, okay?
And then she says you're insulting the American Airlines pilots and I am but I'm speaking to my own heart first and now I speak to yours. We insult God like that every day. We give him a burden and we say I wonder if God's awake. I wonder if he's solved it yet. I wonder if he's taken care of this. Why hasn't he taken care of it this way?
This seems to be the best way. Why isn't he doing it? And what we're really saying is that the governments of the world are upon his shoulders but our anxieties are not. We bear them. He cares for you.
Would you take out a moment and transfer all the weight that you brought with you today genuinely give it to him because it's too much for any one of us. And as we look at the and remember the story of the wise men in Jerusalem I want you to just think for a moment about three different responses that people had to Jesus. First of all there was Herod. Herod was so intimidated because his sense of significance seemed to be eroded because of the birth of a baby. Maybe they're going to start to call him the king and I won't be called the king and so what he does is he lashes out and he wants to kill eventually all those who he thinks might qualify to be Jesus.
You know the rest of the story. And so you know when Herod got a cold all of Jerusalem shivered and they were all up in arms because they knew that this could be bad news. He had a very hard heart. Don't be like Herod. The scribes had a very indifferent heart didn't they?
Very indifferent. You know they said well he used to be born in Bethlehem. Well they could have walked the five miles to Bethlehem but they don't. So you see that represents those who they know all the things they were brought up in the church they know the gospel stories and they think that they know them better than perhaps they do but it's all just old hat to them.
And they become indifferent, tragically indifferent. The wise men they were the ones who were seeking and they bring him gold and silver gold I should say and frankincense and myrrh. They bring him these gifts and the Bible says that they fell down and they worshipped him because they knew that they were in the presence of a king.
Not just the presence of a king of the Jews but the king of the universe. Notice how the kingship of Jesus played itself out even on the cross. You remember Jesus was hanging there between two thieves and people walked by and they shouted hey king of the Jews come down from the cross. Pilate had put up what could be called a gospel tract. He rode above the cross of Jesus the king of the Jews and it was written in three different languages sarcastically putting it up there to show oh you're a king look at how you're dying.
One of the thieves thought you know if he's a king he must have a kingdom. And so perhaps being able to look back and seeing what was written and hearing what was being shouted at Jesus sarcastically he said remember me when you come into your kingdom. And Jesus said today you'll be with me in paradise. Even on the cross Jesus still remained king.
King of paradise, king of Hades, king of the world. And today Jesus invites you and me into his kingdom to be transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. I invite you today to think of Jesus. Who is this in yonder stall at whose feet the shepherds fall? It is Christ a wondrous story. It is Christ the king of glory. At his feet we humbly fall.
Crown him, crown him. Lord of all. Let's pray together. Father the needs among us are diverse but we thank you that they are all known to you and we thank you father that your king Jesus is adequate for each of us. For the person going through a time of relational strife, for the person going through health issues all kinds of internal victories and losses we pray today show your glory. Help us to understand that we can transfer all of our concern to him as we worship him. And now before I close I'm going to pause for just a moment. What do you need to say to God today?
Would you say it right now? Father help us. Meet us in our need. And may we gladly worship the king. In his name we pray.
Amen. On today's Moody Church Hour Pastor Lutzer spoke on the words of the wise men to Herod telling him that the child Jesus was to be the king. We hope these recent weeks together have enriched your appreciation for the Christmas story. This Christmas series will encourage you in these troubling times. All four messages can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount to The Moody Church Hour. Call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Church's ministry.
Our thank you will come as a pair of CDs you can enjoy again and again. Call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church Media 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, Illinois 60614. Online go to moodyoffer.com. That's moodyoffer.com. Join us next time for another Moody Church Hour with Pastor Erwin Lutzer and the Congregation of Historic Moody Church in Chicago. This broadcast is a ministry of The Moody Church.
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